The taps run dry in just a few hours
This is the third instalment of the eighth series of City Press’ Tatane Project, named in honour of slain service-delivery activist Andries Tatane. The first time City Press went to Mawa Block 9, residents collected their water from rivers. Five years lat
“Most of us who cannot afford to buy water from people who have boreholes outside the village go to the river. It is sometimes dry, and we dig and dig through the sand until we get to the muddied water. We fill our containers one scoop at a time,” she says.
“The water has to be boiled before we drink it. In really bad times, we cook with the same water,” she adds.
Looking at development plans for the village on the Greater Tzaneen Local Municipality’s website, there’s not much going on, except a R500 000 high-mast light project, which is scheduled to be implemented this year.
Mayor Dikeledi Mmetle says the municipality has made some strides in addressing service delivery in Mawa.
“Life in Mawa Block 9 is now convenient. Residents now have fridges, TVs and electric stoves. They are no longer at risk of houses burning down because of candles falling or gas tanks exploding.”
In contrast to what residents are experiencing on the ground, municipal spokesperson Neville Ndlala claims that, aside from the water from the Nkambako Water Scheme, the village boasts five boreholes. He adds that only two are in a functional state now because of “theft and vandalism”.
Residents, however, argue that none of the borehole pumps is working, and they haven’t worked for a while.
“After years of struggling with basic services such as water and proper sanitation, the residents of the remote village in the Greater Tzaneen Local Municipality now have access to water four days a week,” Ndlala wrote in an email to City Press.
The municipality also claims that the area has been uplifted thanks to more than 250 households getting ventilated pit latrines in a move to “restore the dignity of over 1 000 residents who had to run to nearby bushes whenever nature called”.
He says that 58 RDP houses had been built and 350 homes had been connected to the electricity supply grid.
Ward councillor Emelina Ramolefo says that residents have access to purified tap water on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, which comes from the Nkambako Water Scheme.
While there is still a need for more houses, 200 of them to be exact, Ramolefo says she is encouraged by the progress.
During all our communication with the leaders in the area, there was no clear indication from them about when the municipality would provide a consistent and clean water supply to the area.